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What Are You Reading? August 2013

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
annis
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Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Wed August 28th, 2013, 11:41 pm

Posted by Carla
I didn't mind Harry Sidebottom drawing on Norse mythology for Ballista's beliefs; there's not much else, and he might as well start somewhere
Yes, my feeling was that Sidebottom extrapolated an Anglian mythology from the Norse, about which we know more, and it does seem likely that they would have had much in common.

Despite my complaint that Beowulf is more recent than Ballista, the piece of poetry was a brilliant choice, I thought, mixing the symbolic imagery of the Germanic raven and that of the Roman eagle, with the wolf being significant to both. Ballista is part of both cultures, though when under stress he does tend to call on the Allfather rather than Jupiter :) I think I remember seeing somewhere an opinion that Beowulf the poem originally had elements of Anglian dialect, though might be wrong on that.

"The dark raven shall have its say
And tell the eagle how it fared at the feast
When, competing with the wolf, it laid bare the bones of corpses"

Beowulf Lines 3021-27 (following Beowulf's death)

I wondered if Sidebottom might be a Tolkien fan? Ballista's given Germanic name is Dernhelm, the name Eowyn takes when she fights as a warrior in the army of Rohan.

Anyway, nitpicking aside, Fire in the East is a great read and I can see I'll be kept quiet for some time chasing up the rest in the series!
Last edited by annis on Thu August 29th, 2013, 12:41 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Susan
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Post by Susan » Thu August 29th, 2013, 12:35 am

Sticking with Dame Frevisse...The Reeve's Tale by Margaret Frazer
~Susan~
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LCW
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 756
Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by LCW » Thu August 29th, 2013, 12:51 am

I'm reading Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. So far it's OK to decent. Prior to this I read Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey which I thoroughly enjoyed.

And hi to anyone who remembers me. And anyone who doesn't! :)
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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LCW
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Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by LCW » Thu August 29th, 2013, 12:56 am

[quote=""MLE""]Moloka'i by Alan Brennert[/quote]

I read this years ago and loved it! It went onto my special "to be read again" bookshelf.
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu August 29th, 2013, 3:02 am

[quote=""LCW""]
And hi to anyone who remembers me. And anyone who doesn't! :) [/quote]
Hi LCW *waves* glad to see you back!

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Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Thu August 29th, 2013, 1:49 pm

Currently reading Varanger by Cecelia Holland. This is part of my effort to not buy anything new until I've cut down on my TBR, especially for series (or loosely linked novels) that I've started but haven't finished.

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Misfit
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Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Thu August 29th, 2013, 4:42 pm

[quote=""LCW""]I'm reading Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. So far it's OK to decent. Prior to this I read Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey which I thoroughly enjoyed.

And hi to anyone who remembers me. And anyone who doesn't! :) [/quote]

*waves*

We remember you :)
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

Carla
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Joined: August 2008
Contact:

Post by Carla » Thu August 29th, 2013, 5:52 pm

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Carla


Yes, my feeling was that Sidebottom extrapolated an Anglian mythology from the Norse, about which we know more, and it does seem likely that they would have had much in common.

Despite my complaint that Beowulf is more recent than Ballista, the piece of poetry was a brilliant choice, I thought, mixing the symbolic imagery of the Germanic raven and that of the Roman eagle, with the wolf being significant to both. Ballista is part of both cultures, though when under stress he does tend to call on the Allfather rather than Jupiter :) I think I remember seeing somewhere an opinion that Beowulf the poem originally had elements of Anglian dialect, though might be wrong on that.

"The dark raven shall have its say
And tell the eagle how it fared at the feast
When, competing with the wolf, it laid bare the bones of corpses"

Beowulf Lines 3021-27 (following Beowulf's death)

I wondered if Sidebottom might be a Tolkien fan? Ballista's given Germanic name is Dernhelm, the name Eowyn takes when she fights as a warrior in the army of Rohan.

Anyway, nitpicking aside, Fire in the East is a great read and I can see I'll be kept quiet for some time chasing up the rest in the series![/quote]

Thanks for the quote. It's another timeless image, even though if I remember rightly the speaker is drawing a parallel between the death of Ongentheow (probably historical 5th-6th C Swedish king) and the likely fate of the Geats now Beowulf is dead. The sort of image that might well have been around in the saga-poetry Ballista would have heard at his father's court (although presumably not attached to Ongentheow at that date).

Sam Newton has a theory that the poem Beowulf was written in something like its current form at the court of East Anglia in the 8th C.

No idea if 'Dernhelm' is a nod to Tolkien. It might be. There again, Dernhelm means 'secret protection' in Old English, so the meaning might be significant.

I'm up to about #4 in the series. I especially liked the siege engineering in Fire in the East.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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Lisa
Bibliophile
Posts: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Thu August 29th, 2013, 8:05 pm

I'm reading The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier.

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LCW
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Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by LCW » Thu August 29th, 2013, 9:36 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Hi LCW *waves* glad to see you back![/quote]

[quote=""Misfit""]*waves*

We remember you :) [/quote]

Hi you two! :)

Tonight I will be starting on The Last Train to Istanbul by Aise Kulin. Apparently it's translated from Turkish to English so it will be interesting to see how well that is done. I received this through the Vine program and only have six more days to review so I need to get on it! What do they do if you're late on a review?
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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